Contrastive phonological analysis of Arabic and English


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2003
Contrastive phonological analysis of Arabic and English
Khaled Huthaily The University of Montana

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CONTRASTIVE PHONOLOGICAL ANALYSIS OF
ARABIC A N D ENGLISH
by KhaledHUTHAILY B.A. H odddah University (Hodddali, Yemen) 1999 presented in partial fulfillment of the requirements
for the degree of Master of Arts The University of Montana
July 2003
son Dean, Graduate School
z-z-Q B
Date
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UMI Number: EP38911
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Abstract

Khaled Huthaily, M.A., July 2003

Linguistics

Contrastive Phonological Analysis o f Arabic and English - 128 pages / '

Director: Prof. Anthony Mattina

L./^ _________________________________

It is commonly believed that when adults start learning a second language, they are very often guided by their first language, especially at the level o f phonology. This is usually referred to as aforeign accent. In the field of linguistics, this is referred to as first language (LI ) transfer.
In this paper, I study the phonological difficulties that adult native speakers o f American English encounter while learning Modem Standard Arabic as a foreign language. The study focuses on describing the segmental phonemes o f both Arabic and English and analyzes the Arabic speech of three American students o f Arabic, in an attempt to track LI transfer.
The study also investigates the extent to which the Contrastive Analysis Hypothesis (CAH) can help in predicting the pronunciation errors that American students o f Arabic are likely to commit in their production of Arabic speech.
Chapter one presents a brief discussion o f the Arabic and English languages. In chapter two, I present an outline of the Contrastive Analysis Hypothesis, the framework on which the study is based. Chapter three addresses the phonological systems o f Arabic and English, with a focus on the former. In chapter four, I use the CAH as a framework to predict the errors that adult English-speaking students o f Arabic would make in their Arabic speech. Chapter five discusses the study and its results, and chapter six presents the conclusion.
The study concludes that there is evidence that the subjects’ first language has an effect on their production o f speech sounds o f the second language. However, the study confirms that this effect could not be predicted by simply comparing and contrasting the sounds o f the first and second languages.

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Table o f Contents

Page

Abstract

ii

List o f Tables

v

List o f Charts ...................................................................................................................... vi

L eg en d ................................................................................................................................... vii

Abbreviations

viii

Acknowledgments

ix

1. Introduction

1

1.1. The Arabic Language

1

1.2. The English Language

5

1.3. The Object o f the Study

5

2. The Contrastive Analysis Hypothesis

7

2.1. Language T ra n s fe r..........................................................................................9

2.2. Forms o f Language Transfer

10

2.3. Another Manifestation o f Transfer

11

2.4. The Beginnings of the CAH

12

2.5. Assumptions o f the CAH

13

2.6. Traditions o f the CAH

14

2.7. The Purpose o f CA

14

2.8. Procedures o f CA

15

2.9. Positions in the CAH

16

2.10. Decline o f the CAH

16

2.11. Reconsidering the CAH

19

2.12. Conclusion

22

3. The Phonology o f Arabic and English

24

3.1. Vowels: definition

24

3.1.1. The Vowels of Arabic

28

3.1.2. The Vowels of English

33

3.2. Consonants: d e fin itio n ................................................................................... 36

3.2.1. The Consonants o f Arabic

36

3.2.2. The Consonants o f English

60

4. Contrastive Analysis o f Arabic and English

67

4.1. Vowel Systems

67

4.2. Consonant System s.......................................................................................... 71

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5. The Study.................................... .................................................................................

5.1. Subjects

81

5.2. Classroom

82

5.3. Procedure

82

5.4. Results and Discussion

83

6. Conclusion

113

Appendix A: Words

117

Appendix B; Sentences

121

Appendix C; Conversations

124

Bibliography

127

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List o f Tables

Table 1: Table 2: Table 3: Table 4: Table 5: Table 6:

Page The Vowel Phonemes o f A r a b ic .............................................................. 29

The Vowel Phonemes o f English

33

Detailed Table o f the Consonants o f A ra b ic ..........................................37

Simplified Table of the Consonants o f Arabic

37

Detailed Table o f the Consonants o f English..........................................60

Simplified Table of the Consonants o f English

60

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List o f Charts

Chart 1:
Chart 2: Chart 3: Chart 4: Chart 5:

An Acoustic Representation o f the American English Vowels as Suggested by Ladefoged and Maddieson

Page 26

The Monophthongs of Arabic

30

The Diphthongs o f Arabic

31

The Monophthongs o f E nglish................................................................. 35

The Diphthongs o f English

35

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Contrastive phonological analysis of Arabic and English